About the milksolids levy

All farmers who supply milk to a dairy company pay a levy. This includes sharemilkers and dairy farm leaseholders. Collected under the terms of the Commodity Levies Act 1990, the levy has stayed at $3.6c/kgMS since 2008. The DairyNZ Board reviews the rate every year against our investment commitments. Any changes to the levy will be communicated well in advance.

2022/23 actual levy expenditure

Levy vote

All dairy farmers who pay a levy on milksolids can vote on whether to continue the levy. Further information on the upcoming vote will be shared well in advance.

How your levy is invested

Grounded in research and development, the programmes funded by your levy help create practical on-farm solutions, promote dairy as a career and advocate for farmers with central and regional government.  An independent auditing process ensures that the levy is spent appropriately, and that the work is completed and delivers real value to farmers.


How is the milksolids levy calculated?

The levy is calculated on the quantity of milksolids supplied to the dairy company.  For example, here’s how the levy is calculated for a typical farm milking 413 cows.

(413 cows x 371 MS per cow) – (153,223 kg MS x 3.6 cents annual levy) = $5516 (+GST) per year

How much is raised through the levy each year?

We collect around $67 million each year from New Zealand dairy farmers. 

Who decides how the levy money is invested?

Our board, made up of five farmer-elected and three independent directors, decides how DairyNZ invests the levy money each year. This decision-making is supported by the advice of DairyNZ’s senior leadership team and is based on the DairyNZ Strategy.

How are investments monitored?

DairyNZ has independent auditing and reporting processes in place to show farmers where the levy was spent and whether it achieved a worthwhile result.

When was the levy introduced?

The levy was introduced after the disestablishment of the New Zealand Dairy Board and introduction of Fonterra in 2001. The first levy vote was in 2002, with the first milksolids levy introduced in June 2003.

Two independent industry organisations, Dairy InSight and Dexcel, acted separately to invest the levy and provide dairy industry activities like research and development.

In November 2007, Dairy Insight and Dexcel amalgamated to form DairyNZ.

What was the 2020 DairyNZ levy vote result?

During April and May all dairy farmers who pay a levy on milksolids had the opportunity to vote on whether a levy on milksolids is continued.

The 2020 levy results:

  • 67% turnout by milksolids
  • 74% yes vote (by milksolids)
  • 69% yes vote by eligible voters (single entities have one vote irrespective of size)
  • 6,700 total votes received (57% of ‘eligible’ voters)

Thank you for those of you who voted.

We will continue to deliver the best research and on-farm tools and support and work with you on local farmer-led projects. Securing a better future for dairy farmers is the biggest motivator for the DairyNZ board and staff and we are looking forward to continuing our work.

Your feedback:

During the levy vote period, we asked for feedback from you, which you gave us. This feedback, and the small increase in "no" levy vote, will be considered by the board and executive in coming months. We are under no illusion that we can rest on our laurels – we will use this feedback to help shape our direction going forward. Please continue to talk to us – you can contact your local regional team, or email us.